Sunday, January 13, 2013

Relish Gastropub: Casual-Upscale vs. Upscale-Casual

Our owners and chef have been working toward opening Relish Gastropub all of their lives. This endeavor is the culmination of their lives’ work and experience. As rich and complex as their careers have been up to this point, their pursuits are still quite simple: for Chef Valoff, to cook really good food; for Marla and Akhil, to take really good care of people. To say the team is eager to open the doors is an understatement.

In Portland, as a brand new opening restaurant, the top questions we’re asked are: what’s it going to be like and of course, what type of food will we serve? We all have backgrounds in fine dining, working at places that have great food, attention to detail and guest focus, and the prices of some of our previous employers might be considered upmarket. Keep in mind, places that execute food, drinks, atmosphere and service at a very high level, even with a high ticket price, still provide excellent value. As it is said, when quality comes first, value follows. This is the philosophy with luxury goods: the handbag is pricey, but the quality superior; and so, a great value. This is in contrast to the idea of affordability.  Affordable things fit into the very day to day of our lives. They provide comfort such as an ice cold IPA or a perfectly seasoned burger.

So while our working backgrounds are upmarket-fine dining, the place we are creating in Sellwood-Moreland [PDX] is a neighborhood restaurant. We think of Relish Gastropub as casual-upscale. The prices will be affordable [casual], the food will be exceptional [upscale].  We couldn’t consider ourselves a neighborhood spot and be pricey at the same time. They don’t go hand in hand. Then you become an upscale-casual place that happens to be located in a Portland neighborhood. This is not our intention. Instead, our raison d'ĂȘtre is to create a casual and warm gastronomic experience within the walls of a true neighborhood restaurant, even if the gastronomic experience is an ice cold IPA and a perfectly seasoned burger! :-)

We’ll see you soon!

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